A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music of sound effects or you need to hear every enemy footstep to know where they are, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, audiophile headphones would be a good option.
We've tested over 540 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These over-ear gaming headphones have a premium, very sturdy-feeling metal design with a flexible microphone that can also retract into the left ear cup. Combined with support for wired connections, they have a bit of versatility for more casual use. Their easy-to-use control scheme and 15-hour plus battery life should keep your gaming sessions interruption-free.
Their most unique feature is their base transmitter, which provides a low-latency wireless connection with your PC or PS4 console as well as support for on-the-fly channel mixing and EQ customization. Out-of-the-box, their overall sound profile is extremely accurate, which should provide high amounts of detail across your listening experience, although that can be tailored to your liking in the SteelSeries Engine app. Their great microphone ensures your voice sounds full-bodied, distortion-free, and clear of any background noise.
Unfortunately, their restrictive headband means they fit a little tight, especially if you have a large head. They also lack functionality if you’re using them with an Xbox One console: You’ll get audio but no microphone support. If you like how they fit and game on PC or PS4, though, they’re a great choice.
If you’re looking for an even more customizable alternative, check out the Logitech G933 Wireless Gaming Headset. They lack the high-end build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but they're compatible with Logitech’s G HUB software, which allows for a huge degree of personalization. Not only does the app include traditional features like a graphic EQ and volume mixing controls, but it also allows you to remap the three physical buttons on the headset for a variety of commands, including switching audio presets and changing lighting effects. They come with audio and RCA cables so that you can plug them into your phone, console controller, or home theater setup without too much of a hassle.
If you prioritize premium build quality and a rich feature set, get the SteelSeries, but if you’re the type to tweak and optimize every inch of your gaming experience, take a look at the Logitech.
The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 is the best wired gaming headset that we've tested. These well-built over-ears have an impressively comfortable fit, so you can wear them for long gaming sessions without a lot of fatigue. Thanks to their wired-only connection, you don't have to worry about running out of battery or latency issues, either.
Overall, they have a neutral, balanced sound profile with a little extra boom in the bass range to bring action-packed scenes in your favorite games to life. You can even customize their sound using the graphic EQ and presets available in the Astro Command Center companion software. If you want to communicate with your teammates, their detachable boom microphone can make your voice clear and detailed, even if you're gaming in a lively environment.
Unfortunately, they hardly block out any background noise due to their open-back design, and they also leak a lot of sound. If you're gaming in an area around other people, they may hear your audio, and you may hear them talking, which can be a bit distracting. However, if you're looking for a pair of wired gaming headphones, they're a solid choice.
If you're looking for a cheaper, more versatile pair of wired gaming headphones, consider the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset instead. While they aren't as comfortable or as well-built as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, these closed-backs still offer a good wired gaming performance, and they don't require a base or dock station to work. They have a balanced, neutral sound profile that's suitable for lots of different audio content. The Logitech G Hub companion software offers lots of customization features, including a graphic EQ and presets so you can adjust their sound. Their detachable boom microphone has an excellent recording quality, so your teammates will be able to understand you even if you're in a noisy setting. While their closed-back design does a better job blocking out background noises, they still don't have the most impressive noise isolation performance.
If you want a sturdier, more comfortable pair of wired gaming headphones, check out the Astro. However, if you're on a budget and want the versatility of a closed-back design, consider the Logitech instead.
The Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 is the best gaming headset for Xbox One that we've tested. These comfortable, well-built over-ears come with a wireless dock that you can use to charge them. Their boom microphone has an excellent recording quality, too, and your teammates should be able to understand you clearly even if you're gaming from a noisy setting.
Out-of-the-box, their sound profile is decently neutral, and there's a touch of extra kick in the bass to help you really feel the thump and rumble in action-packed games. They're compatible with Astro Command Center software, which gives you access to a graphic EQ and presets so you can customize their sound to your liking. Also, thanks to their 17.5-hour continuous battery life, they're suitable for multiple long gaming sessions without a recharge.
Unfortunately, like many gaming headsets, these headphones struggle to isolate against background noises, and they also leak a bit of sound. Also, since you need the wireless dock in order to use them, they aren't very portable. However, for Xbox One users, they offer an impressive wireless gaming performance.
The Logitech G432 Gaming Headset is the best gaming headset in the budget category that we've tested. These comfortable over-ears can be plugged into your Xbox One or PS4 controllers for full audio and microphone compatibility. Also, their boom microphone has an excellent recording quality, so your teammates can understand you clearly even if you're gaming in a lively environment.
These headphones have a decently neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, though they lack a touch of low-bass, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Fortunately, they're compatible with Logitech GHUB software, which gives you access to lots of customization features including a graphic EQ and presets to adjust their sound. They also come with a surround sound feature, though we don't test for this.
Unfortunately, they have poor noise isolation, and they leak a bit of sound. Also, they aren't very versatile, and you can't detach their boom microphone for a more casual look. However, these headphones are a decent choice for wired gaming, and they offer a lot of customization options for their low price point.
If you're looking for a more versatile pair of gaming headphones that you can wear out of the house, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 1 instead. They aren't as comfortable, well-built, or customizable as the Logitech G432 Gaming Headset, but their boom microphone can be removed for a more casual look. Their sound profile is warm and boomy, but they lack the thump and rumble that help you feel sound effects in action-packed scenes. Also, you can easily communicate with your teammates even in noisy environments thanks to the microphone's amazing recording quality and noise handling performances.
If you want comfortable, customizable gaming headphones on a budget, check out the Logitech. However, if you want to be able to remove the microphone, consider the SteelSeries instead.
01/08/2021: Replaced the HyperX Cloud Stinger with the Logitech G432 as 'Best Budget'. Updated Notable Mentions.
12/04/2020: Added the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless to Notable Mentions.
11/06/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy, no change in recommendations.
10/09/2020: Added the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset as a Notable Mention.
09/11/2020: Replaced the Corsair HS60 with the HyperX Cloud Stinger to reflect pricing changes, added the SteelSeries Arctis 1 as 'Alternative with a Detachable Mic'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphones reviews, sorted by their wireless gaming performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.